The Lugoff-Elgin Water Authority (L-EWA) Board of Directors unanimously approved General Manager Mike Hancock’s request earlier this month to put out bids for a standby generator at the main water treatment plant. Hancock said it will strengthen the authority’s ability to maintain services despite power outages at the station.
“This is one of those things like with a spare tire,” Hancock said during L-EWA’s February board meeting. “You can probably drive a long time without one, but the minute you don’t have one, you have a flat and you’re out in the middle of nowhere, cell phone’s not working, can’t get anybody to come help you.”
Thankfully, said Hancock, storms in recent months have not knocked out power to the plant. He said L-EWA had “dodged a bullet” and “would’ve been dead in the water” had that happened.
“We have been looking since back in the summer to see what we could do to allow us to continue processing water and getting it to our customers in the event of a power failure,” said Hancock.
When there’s a power outage, the authority can’t treat and pump water, Hancock said.
The total cost for the project will be approximately $313,000. Moving, installing and wiring the project is expected to cost approximately $308,000, with $5,000 for installing additional transient voltage surge suppressors. The suppressors would protect equipment used to control plant treatment functions from lightning. Slightly more than half of the funds will come from what remains in the authority’s construction fund; the remainder will come from L-EWA’s capital improvement funds.
Hancock said money spent on the project is considered a capital expense and won’t affect L-EWA’s debt-service ratio.
The authority’s engineering firm, Brown and Caldwell, recommended relocating the existing 125-kilowatt generator from the booster pump station to the raw water pump station, and installing a 600-kilowatt generator at the plant to allow high-service pump operation.